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The Joy of Diversity

Old 11-23-11, 12:40 PM
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The Joy of Diversity

With rain expected all day, I decided to take advantage of my workplace's covered bike parking. I usually leave my bike out in the rain because that area is closer to my desk, but today I decided that since there's lots of covered parking and probably not many people using it, I may as well. I was happy to see that despite the weather there were 12 bikes already there when I arrived. Upon closer inspection, I'm not so sure they're all going home today, but you never know.

Anyway, the thing that prompted me to post was the character of the bikes with which I'm sharing the space. I'll start with a tame example:



Previously I thought nothing says "Fred" like aerobars on a commuter bike, but now I see that the Fred effect can be enhanced by adding a light to the end of the aerobars. Nicely done.

Turning now to the vehicle parked to the right of mine, we see that even in the 'burbs where I work the Portland spirit is alive and well:



But the real treasure of the day was the bike to the left of mine. I'm going to post a larger photo so you can see the details of this one:



The first thing I noticed about this bike was that though it's a Huffy, the owner went to the trouble of securing the rear wheel, which is particularly odd because security at our campus is pretty good and crime is pretty low.

The second thing I noticed was that this security-conscious bike owner had "secured" his bike and wheel with a very thin cable lock. The lock is probably appropriate for the value of the bike and the local risk level, but if you're worried about your wheel, why not do it right?

The third thing I noticed was that the "secured" front wheel had the tube hanging out the side of the tire. Maybe the determined thief who has been scoping out that Huffy tried to at least make off with a tube but was caught in the act and forced to flee.

The fourth thing I noticed was the noseless Schwinn saddle. A cheap Schwinn saddle on a Huffy makes sense to me, but a cheap Schwinn saddle that's at least austensibly designed for comfort seems like a contradiction. Maybe I'm wrong. It also looks like the saddle may be "secured" by that cable lock.

Finally, I noticed the big oddity about this bike, which may have jumped out immediately at some of you. I don't know if I would have noticed at all if it hadn't been for the series of other things that grabbed my attention. If you have noticed, look at the picture again. The suspension fork is on backward.

I'm starting to feel a bit nervous about the fact that my clip-on rear light is more valuable than most of the bikes locked up in this area. I felt more at ease when mine was the only bike locked up in the uncovered area.
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Old 11-23-11, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
The suspension fork is on backward.
It seems like whenever I'm at a Target, Costco, Walmart, etc. and pass down the BSO isle, I see at least a couple of bikes assembled this way.

I don't think a real fred would put aerobars on anything. I'm one, and would never consider it. Sure, I'll have something holding a map, maybe a mount for my GPS or ham radio, but nothing like aerobars.
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Old 11-23-11, 12:48 PM
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I won't even ask which way the brake pads were mounted in that Huffy.

And it looks like there is really just no good way to lock up a unicycle.
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Old 11-23-11, 12:52 PM
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Maybe some of the local commuters got together and bought the Huffy and put it there so that it would get swiped before their own bikes. Sort of like the sacrificial anode on a boat propeller.
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Old 11-23-11, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by aggiegrads View Post
And it looks like there is really just no good way to lock up a unicycle.
Yeah. That must be a serious problem for Portland commuters.
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Old 11-23-11, 01:57 PM
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Also seems like all the junky bikes are taking up the best spaces.

The Huffy may have had a front tire blow out and the owner locked it there and got a ride home. Maybe he'll be back to get it later.
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Old 11-23-11, 02:00 PM
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Maybe it steers better with the forks on backwards. More nimble.
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Old 11-23-11, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
The Huffy may have had a front tire blow out and the owner locked it there and got a ride home.
...and the force of the blow-out spun the fork around.
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Old 11-23-11, 05:03 PM
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I wonder what the owners of those bikes look like? I bet there's some diversity there too.
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Old 11-23-11, 05:43 PM
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Nice handlebar tape job on the bike next to the Huffy. Nice bar plugs too.
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Old 11-23-11, 05:44 PM
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no motor: sounds liek a cheap shot!
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Old 11-24-11, 01:16 AM
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When I left work with the office mostly empty, eight of the bikes, including the Huffy and the unicycle were still there. Of those eight, only the one next to the Huffy with the bad bar tape had a light. That one also had panniers, so I'm guessing it went home tonight.
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Old 11-24-11, 02:32 AM
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Originally Posted by no motor? View Post
I wonder what the owners of those bikes look like? I bet there's some diversity there too.
Perhaps. But I'm guessing they probably lack a certain pompous and condescending attitude sometimes exhibited in nondescript, self-absorbed forums.

Just saying.
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Old 11-24-11, 05:06 AM
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Originally Posted by threemonkeys View Post
Perhaps. But I'm guessing they probably lack a certain pompous and condescending attitude sometimes exhibited in nondescript, self-absorbed forums.

Just saying.
Yeah, I thought I had stepped over to the 41 for a moment...

Originally Posted by sdold
I don't think a real fred would put aerobars on anything. I'm one, and would never consider it. Sure, I'll have something holding a map, maybe a mount for my GPS or ham radio, but nothing like aerobars.
I'm confused... my road bike has aero bars (from the previous owner). I like 'em, they're comfortable. A real Fred (or Wilma, as the case may be) probably wouldn't care what you thought of his (her) aero bars...
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Old 11-24-11, 06:12 AM
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Wow. Judgmental much? Are you afraid that these 'lesser' bikes will try to take your little precious' innocence?
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Old 11-24-11, 07:53 AM
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I guess this comes under the topic of "diversity" in the commuting forum.

I commute 5 days a week on two wheels. Either my sportbike or a bicycle. Sometimes, I do double up. I head out early to the gym on the motorcycle, then head back home and switch to the bicycle for the commute to work. On those days, I get a double dose of fun!!

Yes, the sportbike is big fun, but the bicycle is the most fun.

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Old 11-24-11, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
The Huffy may have had a front tire blow out and the owner locked it there and got a ride home. Maybe he'll be back to get it later.
That was my first thought: the rider had a flat and started to fix it. Upon removing the tube he realized it wasn't repairable with a simple patch and didn't have a replacement tube. Rather than reinstalling the wheel only to remove it again when he returns with a tube, he just locked the wheel to the side.

At least that's what I would do in that situation.
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Old 11-24-11, 08:45 AM
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No diversity at my workplace, unless you count the old factory-owned bike rusting at a rack near the front entrance. 1200 employees, 1 commuter. Nice thing is that I don't even carry a lock - no need to lock it up at work. Just wish there were more of us, might actually have a covered parking area, but that ain't likely to happen before I retire. Now if I were a smoker, I could have a covered (often heated) and glassed-in outdoor smoking booth.
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Old 11-24-11, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Ratchet View Post
I'm confused... my road bike has aero bars (from the previous owner). I like 'em, they're comfortable. A real Fred (or Wilma, as the case may be) probably wouldn't care what you thought of his (her) aero bars...
I don't agree with the poster you are quoting as far as his general analysis of what a Fred will or will not do. I personally love aero bars and clipless peddles but they are not for everyone. Both take practice to become comfortable with. I find when people can't get over their fear of things they tend to generalize that they are unnecessary and make broad statements like any real pro would never use them. I wouldn't take any offence to such a statement, it is nothing more than someone's opinion
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Old 11-24-11, 11:22 AM
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in the pic of the bike with the tractor seat first, i don't see the tire in question (tube hanging out). donde' esteeee? what really
interested me was the rack in the lower right corner. looks nice 'n' wide. any chance of scoring a pic of it, and maybe other in-
teresting looking (i.e.: different from the average) racks? thanks
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Old 11-24-11, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by ka0use View Post
in the pic of the bike with the tractor seat first, i don't see the tire in question (tube hanging out). donde' esteeee? what really
interested me was the rack in the lower right corner. looks nice 'n' wide. any chance of scoring a pic of it, and maybe other in-
teresting looking (i.e.: different from the average) racks? thanks
I missed it at first also. The wheel is leaning against the seat post underneath the white bar, the tube laying out below the crank.

I think the aero bars are kind of cool - if nothing else it's different from the boring run of the mill setup. I'm also impressed with a dozen bike commuters in the first place not to mention covered bike parking! It's just me and the motorcycles at my workplace, (although I can't complain because we do have the premier parking spot right by the door with excellent security).
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Old 11-24-11, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by sysiphus View Post
Wow. Judgmental much? Are you afraid that these 'lesser' bikes will try to take your little precious' innocence?
Sense of humor?
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Old 11-24-11, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by ka0use View Post
what really interested me was the rack in the lower right corner. looks nice 'n' wide. any chance of scoring a pic of it, and maybe other interesting looking (i.e.: different from the average) racks? thanks
That's mine, so I do have a picture.



It's a pretty Fredly bike in its own right, I think. The rack is a Bontrager of some sort. It doesn't look like they make this model any more.
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Old 11-24-11, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
I'm also impressed with a dozen bike commuters in the first place not to mention covered bike parking!
This is actually just one of three covered bike parking areas at the campus where I work. Over 5000 people work at this site. On a nice day in the summer we've probably got around 100 biking to work.
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Old 11-24-11, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
Sense of humor?
Seriously, there's some major knee-jerking in here. People do know that the word 'diversity' is a quality neutral term, right? It's just another way of saying 'heterogeneous'.

On my campus there's a similar diversity, with the largest group (probably about 50%) being box store bikes in various states of modification and repair (I see one regularly that always has its front brake disconnected, so I'm guess his wheel must be badly out of true). Next largest is newer low to middle end LBS bikes, more mountain and hybrid than road, and maybe a 3rd decked out for commuting (racks, fenders, and lights); followed by older (+15 years) LBS bikes (more road than MTB) in various states of repair; and finally an equal-ish mix (like a few of each) of really nice bikes (roadies in the summer, fat tired snow bikes in the winter), BMXs, and no-frills fixies. No unicycles, though.

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